Monday 13 April – Antigua.
Weather fine and we have decided to opt for a taxi tour, not provided by P & O although the first day of the first England v West Indies in Antigua was a definite alternative.
We have berthed right in town so a quick walk to the taxi dispatch area and with another couple, the six of us depart for Nelson’s dockyard, Shirley heights and English Harbour past many different types of housing, both shack types and gated properties.
The results of a couple of hurricanes and earthquakes in recent times still have their presence as many properties still showing damage, including the late Princess Margaret’s property near Nelson’s Dockyard.
Many properties run down, a fair amount of litter around and old cars rusting away in gardens in many places give the impression of a run down place but the locals seem to be happy.
A stop for photos near some stalls selling souvenirs but electricity wires in the way for a good view and then on to Nelson’s dockyard for a 40 minute walk around (we could have stayed longer) looking at the old buildings built with London Bricks brought over from the UK in exchange as ballast for sugar and molasses.
Nowadays, the buildings are museums and shops for the visiting sailing fraternity of which there are many in advance of the Antigua sailing week next week.
We had been given a voucher for a free drink and had trouble standing after our sample of 155% proof Rum Punch!
We should have bought a bottle but did buy a bottle of local beer for $1.15 US.
Up to Shirley Heights for a view of Eric Clapton’s mansion on a promontory and another lookout for a good view of English Harbour.
Just looking at it from above, you can understand why it was such an important harbour in year’s gone by.
The other two passengers wanted to stop at a beach and come back later so we dropped them off at Turner’s beach and returned to St John’s and the ship for lunch.
The whole trip cost US$25 each ($30 for the two who stayed on the beach for a couple of hours) which was excellent value and far cheaper than a typical P & O tour.
Back into St John’s for a quick look around for Internet and a shirt. The Cheers bar advertises free wifi but trying to get on is impossible so we give up and whilst Sal returns to ship, I wander around eventually finding some at an ice cream shop with free wi-fi but not enough for a SKYPE.
The small shopping area of the town is nothing really to write home about although the buildings are typically Caribbean; colourful, yes, but full of tourist shops and many of them were closed because the government had declared a half day holiday because of the cricket so banks and many shops closed.
Only ATM that dispensed US$ was in the casino where internet was also supposed to be good but not enough time by now so it will have to be at the next port of call.
Back to ship for a sail-away party P & O style and an evening’s entertainment by a guy providing a John Denver tribute. Next port is Ponta Delgarda in the Azores, our last one on the cruise.